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EDWARDSVILLE — Scott T. Hyden will serve the rest of his life in prison for killing Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyker Timmins last year.

On Wednesday afternoon, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine announced that Hyden, 31, of Highland, has pleaded guilty to one count of first degree murder for the Oct. 26, 2021 killing of Timmins. Timmins was standing at Hyden’s vehicle at the Speedway gas station on Illinois 111 at Chain of Rocks Road in Pontoon Beach when Hyden shot him.

“This was a brutal murder of a hero who dedicated his life to serve and protect us all,” Haine said.

“Now at least the justice system has ensured that Officer Tyler Timmins’s murderer will spend the rest of his life in prison,” Haine said. “That is some consolation, though nothing can ever bring Tyler back to his incredible family. They will continue to be in our prayers.”

Timmins’ wife, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Police Officer Linsey Timmins, presented a powerful victim impact statement at Wednesday afternoon’s plea hearing which was attended by dozens of local police officers and many family members.

“Justice for my husband was served today from this senseless act of violence,” she said. “The outcome of the court hearing does not change what Hyden took from my family and me. But we are grateful that Hyden will never be able to harm another person for the rest of his life.”

Pontoon Beach Chief Chris Modrusic said Timmins’ murder had affected his department “beyond words.”

“We will never be the same,” he said. “Today justice was served. But it does not take away the pain our department has felt from this senseless act.

“Now that the case is closed, we can begin the healing process,” Modrusic said. “We will continue to put on our uniforms everyday to serve and protect, as Officer Timmins would have wanted us to do. On behalf of every member of the Pontoon Beach Police Department, I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing justice for Officer Timmins .”

On Oct. 26, Timmins responded to the gas station to investigate a license plate reader camera hit on a reported stolen vehicle. Shortly after he arrived, Timmins made contact with a passenger in the vehicle. Hyden, who was the driver and on federal slogan at the time, came around the back of the vehicle and shot Timmins in the face/neck.

Timmins was taken to a local hospital and died a short time later.

On Wednesday, Haine noted the work of Assistant Madison County State’s Attorney Luke Yager on this case, as well as the Pontoon Beach Police, Granite City Police, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police and several local police departments and agencies.

“If there is any silver lining to this horrible loss for all of us, it is that the law enforcement community of Madison County will always be united and inspired by the heroism and sacrifice of Officer Timmins,” Haine stated.

The first degree murder charge is a Class M felony with a sentencing range of 20-60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, with an addition 25 years to life sentence with the potential firearms enhancement. Because Hyden murdered a police officer performing his official duties, it was mandatory life.

In addition to the life sentence and pursuant to Hyden’s guilty plea, the firearms enhancement was applied at 25 years. Haine said that was “functionally irrelevant” because Hyden will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

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